THE Covid-19 pandemic has changed the Muslims observing the fasting month entirely. This year, Ramadan is celebrated under the new normal which is completely different from the previous year.No Ramadan bazaar, no Ramadan buffet. no ‘iftar jamaei’, tarawih congregation, ‘tadarus’ of the Holy Quran and ‘moreh’ at mosques and surau. May it doesn’t deter us from carrying out our duty in the fasting month.
In is undeniable how we missed the congregation tarawih prayers at the mosques and the glittering Ramadan bazaar which sells various delicacies like murtabak, popia, roasted chicken and drinks. However, this is the sacrifice that summons us in order to break the chain of the pandemic, that ‘wemustwin’ this war.
Ramadan is synonym with it ‘mujahadah’ and sacrifice. It is in Ramadan when Allah The Almighty tests his believers to refrain from their soul desire, barred from eating, drinking and to speak with candor. Imam al-Ghazali used to say: “Among our love for Allah is doing what he likes most, than fulfilling their soul and and inner urge and desire”.
When we talk about test, mujahadah and sacrifices, the story of Talut and Jalut and their army can be adopted as a good lesson or ‘ibrah’. Allah The Almighty tested Talut’s army that summoned Talut and his batalion to perform mujahadah or sacrifices.
Allah The Almighty said: “When Talut was together with his army, Talut said: Indeed Allah will tesu you with a river, and if any of you drink from it is not my men, and whoever refuse it are my loyal men, except for those who fill the water in their palm.” (al-Baqarah verse 249).
Talut has commanded his army to cross over the river which needed much sacrifice and willpower. However, some of the men disobeyed him not to drink from it.
Some ulama cited that from 80,000 army personnel, only 4,000 didn’t drink from the river. With a much reduced personnel, Talut continued led them to overcome the test and obstacle. Allah The Almighty said: “When Talut and his loyal men managed to cross the river, those who drank from it avowed: “We are not able to take on Jalut and his men today.” Then those who were convinced they will see Allah said: “As it happened so many times how a small number of men managed to overcome a bigger army with Allah permission; and that Allah is always with those who are patience”. (al-Baqarah verse 249)
Finally, after much pains, Allah gave victory to Talut and his men when Jalut is defeated by Daud as. Even though Talut was far inferior, they quality of his men was the biggest asset in the victory.
UMNO and BN have undergo many tests and obstacle since their inception. We were made Opposition for 22 month, under which we were harrowed and oppressed, the factors that made us more aware of the struggle, the meaning of camaraderieship and and unity.
Within that span of period, we were blessed with the biggest achievement when Muafakat Nasional (MN) is formed between UMNO and PAS. It was cultivated with proper approach which led to both parties inked the MN Charter on September 14 last year.
The people realised that MN is not only a political cooperation between UMNO and PAS but as the best outlet to the domestic political woes. I am confident that Mufakat Nasional will thrive and fortified for the betterment of the massed.
UMNO, BN and MN are once again tested when they took part in the new government, only 22 months as the Opposition.
I personally see this as a hefty responsibility which needs togetherness in expediting the duty. As to whether we take it as an opportunity or not, I believe its written in the lines of our palms, there must be some blessing in it.
Will we get through it? Looking back at the political experience of UMNO, BN and MN, we should be able to as long as we adhere to the spirit of cooperation. We must continue with ‘istiqomah’, mujahadah and a solid unison platfrom rather than doing it on personal interest.
Bearing pains and trials are the factors in Talut’s victory, as Allah The Almighty said: “When they (the true believers) went out to face Jalut and his army, they prayed by saying: O Lord, do give us patience and unified stance…” (l-Baqarah verse 250)
May this Ramadan teach us the true meaning of sacrifices, not only during fasting but in our struggle for the nation.
AHMAD ZAHID HAMIDI